It is easy to get backwards when doing t-tests, especially when you’ve first started. You have to remember that big t and small p-values mean to reject. Of course, if you’re a little dyslexic (undiagnosed) like me, when you get confused, you can go back and re-figure out that you want small amounts in the tails and the t-slice to be far away from the mean making it large etc., but that is really time consuming, especially if you’re in the middle of a lengthy problem set or a timed exam.
Many years ago, one of my students shared a dirty misogynistic mnemonic. When p is low, she said, reject the ho. This is clever and funny because p is both probability and slang for penis. Ho is both how a null hypothesis is written and a derogatory term for female prostitute. When one’s penis is at low mast, it makes sense that said penis-holder might not be purchasing the services of a prostitute. And it rhymes.
But it’s both dirty (I got into trouble for saying “prick” meaning “jerk” early in my classroom career) and one should not be using derogatory terms for prostitutes or women anywhere, much less in an institution of higher learning.
More recently, I was explaining my conundrum in office hours and one of my sunshiny students came up with a much better mnemonic. It isn’t quite as clever, but it’s just as memorable and it still rhymes. “When p is lo, reject H-O!” Like a cheerleading chant (aich – oh).
It makes me much happier.
What are some good non-racist, non-misogynist, non-ablist, non-patriarchy mnemonics that you know?